Sohail Jaffar Tharani
August 11, 2017
What are these five young men always doing? I kept asking this question to myself during the first year at NED. The group stayed together and was very vocal in ensuring that everyone in the class can get a big laugh at the end of a chat. Their leader is a slim person who is always smartly dressed. He is soft-spoken and with his eyes staring at the ground most of the time. The four young men always surround him, and when he talks, they all listen to him with pin-drop silence. Later I found out that they belong to the National Student Federation (NSF), a left-wing students union in Pakistan and that their leader at NED was that seemly shy young man, Sohail Jaffar. Sohail was the brain behind NSF at NED and also at Dow Medical College. My brother-in-law Dr. Adil Akhtar was studying at Dow Medical College at that time. Adil was the NSF elected union secretary, and it was the time of military rule in Pakistan when the military regime was banning all student union activities. During that crucial time, Adil recalls, “When Sohail Jaffar starts talking during NSF meetings, even the federation’s senior members will listen and seek his advice in the matter of utmost importance.” What a great leader he was even at that young age.
During our stay at NED, except saying hi in the corridors, I never had any chat with him or with many members in his team, but one thing is for sure that Sohail’s acquaintances have nothing but high regard for him. They all appreciate his humbleness, kindness, wisdom, and intellect. For most of them, Sohail was also their academic mentor. He had a fantastic mind; according to Sohail’s friend, Zafar, “we all would be struggling to prepare for exams, and Sohail will come and rescues all of us. He might not have attended any classes but will take our notes and book, and an hour later, he will be explaining the engineering concepts with ease”. Sohail friends remember him all the way, and at our NED final year party, they honored him for “been a friend who is always there to help.”
After NED, we went to our separate path and lost track of each other whereabouts. Years later, I think in 2007 or 2008, someone sent me a picture of an emerging Research Analyst at Goldman Sachs with the caption remember him? It took me and my wife, Naheed, who is also Sohail’s classmate at NED, only a few minutes to say that he is no one else but Sohail Jaffar. Two of us know that the leadership qualities he illustrated at NED, along with his wisdom, intellect, and love for humanity, had poised him to be very successful in his life.
Sohail was a unique person. His humbleness and love for people are what I would like to remember him. May Allah forgive his sins and award him the highest place in heaven.
By Dr Sohail
From Hasan’s album
Sohail sitting second from right.